Dozens of South Yorkshire motorists fail Christmas breath tests

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More than 150 motorists were found to be over the drink drive limit in an annual Christmas crackdown by South Yorkshire Police.

Officers breathalysed more than 3,054 motorists on the county’s roads and 154 tested positive, refused a test or failed to give a reading.

South Yorkshire Police said 2,505 tests were carried out during routine stops, and 549 drivers were tested after collisions.

The operation was launched on December 1 and ran until New Year’s Eve.

The number of those testing positive was up slightly on last year, with fewer motorists having been breathalysed.

In 2012, 151 motorists provided positive readings of 2,908 tested.

Chief Inspector Stuart Walne, who oversees roads policing at South Yorkshire Police, said: “The statistics show the vast majority of motorists in South Yorkshire think about the safety of others and don’t get behind the wheel when they are over the limit.

“However, the fact some people continue to flout the law and get behind the wheel after one too many continues to be a great concern.

“The message is clear - the only safe number of drinks to have before driving is zero, and anyone who thinks otherwise is risking not only their own life but the lives of others.”

During the campaign 174 collisions were reported.

Of the drivers breath-tested, 734 were under the age of 25.

Chief Inspector Walne added: “Even though the festive period is over, South Yorkshire Police will continue to take robust action against anyone caught driving while under the influence.”

In Derbyshire, where police carried out an identical campaign, almost 15 per cent of motorists breathalysed were over the limit, refused to take a test or failed to provide a sample.

The Derbyshire drink drive campaign ran on the same dates as in South Yorkshire, and resulted in 538 motorists being breathalysed.

Of those, 79 were over the drink-drive limit, refused to take the test or failed to provide a sample.

Chief Inspector Steve Wilson, head of roads policing in Derbyshire, said: “By teaming up with Crimestoppers again we received widespread interest in the campaign and received 40 calls from the public with information.

“Crucially, no-one has yet applied for a Crimestoppers reward which shows that the public report drink-drivers out of a moral duty, rather than for financial gain.

“The results this year show a five per cent drop in positive tests compared to last year and a significant drop in the number of under 25s being over the drink-drive limit, which is reflective of the work we are doing with our partners to educate that age group.

“However, one drink-driver is too many and we will continue to target those who put themselves and other road users at risk.”